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Monday, August 10, 2015

I was your medic

I was your medic
—Bacil Donovan Warren

You might remember me, although I don't remember you,
It's nothing personal, you see—I very seldom do.
I treat a lot of people, and I see more every day;
Now, if the call was really bad, the memory might stay.

Especially if it involved a child—maybe yours?—
Whose face was blue, head slumping down, as we came through the doors.
You held her precious body out for us to lend a hand
"You must save her!" you screamed at us, as we calmly began.

Or was it from this call we ran, a couple months ago;
A flare up at a barbecue; a man who did not know
The gas had already been on, and tried to light the flame,
What I recall most about it: him, screaming out in pain.

As many of my colleagues know, I joke about our work,
None of it is intended to be rude; I'm not a jerk.
It's simply how many of us deal with the deathly ill,
The ugly truth about it, is that many haunt me still.

The agony in faces wracked with fear about the fate
Of a father, or a friend, who seems at Heaven's gate;
A tearful wail as medics fail to work their magic touch—
Sometimes, when I remember them, it really is too much.

And so I work to bury it, so deep inside my soul.
I let it out in little bursts as jokes—that is my role.
But many nights I lie in bed, because I cannot sleep;
The memories of those I've lost—into my brain they creep.

They torture me with thoughts about the things I did, or not;
Was there more I could have done? Just give me another shot!
The second, or the third or fourth, a chance to do again
And step back into history—remembering only then

That nothing that I do or say has made them come alive
I couldn't make it better then, and they did not survive.
So as I lay with the demon Doubt twisting in my head,
I circle into bitter thoughts, just laying in my bed.

One month turns to five or six, Doubt eating me from within
My coping mechanisms can no longer calm the din.
The demon leads me to the gun, I keep for safety's sake;
Ironic how I use it now, the cycle for to break.

I didn't think that anyone would get just how I feel;
I thought I would get laughed about—the medic who can't deal!
It tears my soul apart now when I dwell upon this pain,
I just wish I could have reached out and didn't have to feign

Being well: a happy face, be that medic you all know
Has it all together!—I tell you now, it's all a show.
If only I had taken time, to talk about these fears
I might not now be looking down, your faces wet with tears.

My memorial is over, my friends have said goodbye,
Some of them are back to work, while others will sit and cry.
I was your medic, at one time, but since I kept it in,
I took my life when demon Doubt no longer stayed within.

I beg you now, my medic friends, don't keep it buried down
Hiding under a false face; the station's duty clown.
Talk to someone who can help you deal with this Doubt.
I do not want another soul to accompany me out.

If you are an EMS provider, and you are feeling haunted & brought to the brink of suicide by those demons of Doubt, or the memories of the ones you couldn't save, you can get help: the Code Green Campaign has a lot of resources you can use to help with those. It sucks when we lose patients, but there is hope. You are not alone.

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